Wildlife video shows Eagle River bears

Posted: Wednesday, September 23, 2009

EAGLE RIVER - The Alaska Department of Fish and Game has some video to back up its opposition to developing trails at Eagle River.

The video shows brown bears visiting Meadow Creek at night about three times a week this summer. In August 2008, a teenager was mauled near Meadow Creek.

Wildlife biologist Rick Sinott told The Anchorage Daily News that building trails will put more people in the path of bears.

"Bears often follow natural features like river shorelines," he said. Already, the highway and expanding Eagle River neighborhoods funnel bears into an increasingly narrow corridor.

"If all of these trails are built," he said, "brown bears will have precious few places to avoid people in Eagle River canyon."

Sinott also said bears can be expected to use any new or improved trails, including a proposed pedestrian bridge across Eagle River, near the campground.

State Department of Natural Resources planner Monica Alvarez said the idea for the Eagle River greenbelt trail dates to 1992. The trail system would cost millions of dollars and take years to complete, even if bear concerns are put to rest.

Alvarez and Tom Harrison, director of Chugach State Park, want to see what comments they receive to the route that's part of the Chugach trails plan. The comment period for that plan ends Oct. 16.

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